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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stasis: Flexible Transactional Storage

  • Author(s): Sears, Russell C.
  • Advisor(s): Brewer, Eric A
  • et al.

An increasing range of applications requires robust support for

atomic, durable and concurrent transactions. Databases provide the

default solution, but force applications to interact via SQL and to

forfeit control over data layout and access mechanisms. In principle,

a specialized database stack could be built for each application, but

such approaches have proven to be impractical. We argue there is a

gap between DBMSs and file systems that limits designers of

data-oriented applications.

Stasis is a storage framework that incorporates ideas from traditional

write-ahead logging algorithms and file systems. It provides

applications with flexible control over data structures, data layout,

robustness and performance. Stasis enables the development of

unforeseen variants on transactional storage by generalizing

write-ahead logging algorithms. Instead of implementing support for

each new storage system from scratch, I have extended Stasis to

provide specialized storage mechanisms to a wide variety of

applications. It now provides cleaner semantics than similar

application-specific approaches would, with significantly less source

code than would be required by multiple separate storage

implementations. In addition to the conventional write-ahead logging

algorithms that Stasis was designed for, it now provides support for

large objects, and for log-structured indexes. A number of other

extensions, such as distributed recovery algorithms and snapshot-based

recovery are under development.

This dissertation describes the range of data models and program

architectures that have been commonly used in the past, and argues

that Stasis is sufficiently general to support most storage

applications. It then turns to a description of Stasis' high-level

application interfaces and APIs that are designed to allow

applications to add their own transactional data structures to

Stasis. The performance of a number of such extensions is evaluated,

showing that Stasis performs favorably relative to existing systems.

The dissertation then turns to a careful definition of Stasis'

recovery algorithms, and provides a novel generalization of ARIES, the

de facto standard approach to transactional storage. The

generalization is particularly promising in the context of distributed

systems. Finally, it presents Stasis' lower-level interfaces,

providing systems developers and application designers with the

ability to tailor high-level transactional primitives to new types of

storage hardware and operating system primitives. To the greatest

extent possible, the ideas presented within are composable, allowing

Stasis' simple implementation to support an unusually wide range of

storage architectures.

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